Premier John Horgan takes questions at the B.C. legislature rose garden, July 30, 2018. (Black Press)

Pulp mill struggles long-term, Premier John Horgan says

U.S. ‘assault’ on B.C.’s Catalyst Paper threatens workers, retirees

The B.C. government’s move to restructure Catalyst Paper’s pension obligations is only the start of a long-term restructuring of the forest industry, Premier John Horgan says.

The immediate threat is the imposition of anti-dumping duties totalling 22 per cent that took effect in April, which Horgan called “an assault on our industries” and unfair trade practices by the U.S.

“We’ve been meeting with Catalyst and the communities they operate in, Powell River, Crofton, North Cowichan and Port Alberni, since April when we held a conference here with local MLAs,” Horgan told reporters at the B.C. legislature Monday.

“But there are also underlying issues when it comes to pulp production in British Columbia, and the primary issue is access to fibre. As we’ve seen an increase in the export of raw logs, as we’ve seen a decline in the number of sawmills, which means there are fewer chips, there’s less feedstock for the pulp sector. That’s one of the fundamental issues that existed prior to the tariff question coming forward.”

RELATED: Unions protest Trump’s paper duties

Horgan said the regulation change made Friday to extend Catalyst’s time to pay off a pension funding shortfall is designed to prevent a scenario faced by Sears employees in B.C. “who went to the bottom of the line when it came to addressing receivership.”

Keeping pulp and paper mills from meeting a similar fate, as they struggle with the latest round of anti-dumping duties that protect U.S. mills from Canadian competition, is the immediate task. The latest duties target uncoated paper such as newsprint, and has raised protests from U.S. newspaper companies that it is pushing their costs higher.

B.C. trade officials expect that with the deteriorating trade relationship with the U.S. in recent months, tariffs on paper products could go even higher, up to 28.5 per cent, as early as August.

Catalyst moved in June to sell its U.S. mills to Nine Dragons Paper Ltd., a Hong Kong company. Catalyst indicated the sale eases the company’s debt position and allows it to focus on its B.C. operations, which employ 1,500 people.

Just Posted

Horses from Victoria Carriage Tours involved in second incident in three months

Witnesses: Horses veered into a parked vehicle, smashing windows, climbing onto roof with front hooves

Vehicle stolen in Oak Bay carjacking found

Oldsmobile Alero found Monday in restricted parking zone in Victoria

Stolen Search and Rescue dog harness replaced by donation

Moxxii’s specialized harness was stolen at the Pet-A-Palooza festival

Seaplane flights cancelled between Victoria and Vancouver due to smoke

Harbour Air has grounded flights travelling through the Georgia Strait

First stores open in Victoria’s expanded Mayfair shopping centre

Construction project will add about 100,000 square feet of retail space and 400 parking stalls

PHOTOS: Puppy love makes a splash at St. Ann’s Academy

Puppies stampede, dive and do yoga at Victoria’s largest outdoor pet festival

Vehicle fire on the Coquihalla

Heavy congestion in north bound lanes

Prime minister greeted by B.C. premier as cabinet retreat begins

PM Justin Trudeau and Premier John Horgan meet in advance of federal cabinet meetings in Nanaimo

Are your kids anxious about going back to school?

BC Children’s Hospital offers tips to help your children be mindful and reduce stress

New trial ordered for James Oler in B.C. child bride case

Meanwhile, appeal court dismisses Emily Blackmore’s appeal of guilty verdict

This trash heap in Vancouver could be yours for $3.9 million

Sitting atop 6,000 square feet, the home was built in 1912, later destroyed by fire

Team Canada’s next game postponed at Little League World Series

They’re back in action on Wednesday against Peurto Rico

Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen pleads guilty in hush-money scheme

Said he and Trump arranged payment to porn star Stormy Daniels and a former Playboy model to influence the election

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Aug. 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Most Read